If you think, writing an email is really easy especially if you hardly know the person you are writing to, then you are wrong. You have to be cautious because a lot of people are particular when being addressed to. If you don’t, the person might not read your email and will forever have a bad impression of you. Whatever you write can reflect who you are.
Here are a list of greetings you shouldn’t use:
- “Hey!” this is not professional at all. It shows that you are making it sound that you know the person when you really don’t.
- “Hello,” is a little bit informal especially if you do not know the person yet.
- “Yo!” you must be kidding, if you aren’t, this is a huge no!
- “Greetings! ” is just like saying “Hi!” if you don’t know the person’s name. Find out and use another greeting.
- “To whom it may concern, ” is is tolerable but as far as the recipient of the email is concern, the person might just think that it does not concern him/her and will discontinue to read it.
- “Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. [first name], ” professionally, this is not suitable. It is like a child asking her teacher, “Miss Chloe, can you….”
- “Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. [last name], ” is not too bad, but it sounds old-fashioned and formal. It also gives the feeling that you are about to be lectured.
- “Dear friend, ” is not coming from a friend because if it does, you would have used the name of the person instead.
- “Dear [Job Title], ” just like “To whom it may concern”, it is generic. Find out the person’s name. Go the extra mile.
- “Dear Ma’am, ” generic and very impersonal too. This gives the feel of being old and therefore being disrespected. No woman would ever want that.
- “Dear Sir or Madam” seems like bad news which is followed by a complaint.
- “ [Insert first name]! ” exclamation point at the end? This is so unexpected and irritating.
- “Good morning/afternoon/evening” is uncertain because you don’t really know the time of day that the person will read your email. And what about time zone? Best thing to do, skip this!
- “[misspelled name]!” oh no!!! Find out the name of the person and the spelling. This could insult the recipient.
- “Gentlemen” is good assuming that the receivers are all male. What about if there is a female? This will make this salutation inappropriate.
- “All, ” again, this too is abrupt. If you are writing a group, use “Hi, everyone.”
- “Hi (nickname), ” can only be used if the person introduced herself/himself to you using a nickname because you might just make a mistake. Remember that a William is not always called Willy or Will.
Whether you know a person or not, the safest way to address someone is to use “ Hi [Insert first name], ”. Writing “Hi, Felicity” is a lot better than those listed above. If you need more tips on online etiquette, you can check out this article. You can also read more about email etiquette.